Breakdown? AAA has your back and your bike

November 30, 2017

(Image: Hudson Valley AAA)

Managing a bike breakdown when you’re miles from home has gotten a little easier thanks to AAA. The auto club’s regional groups have increasingly begun to offer roadside bicycle assistance and the service is now available across most of the United States.

Roadside service technicians will transport a rider and their busted bike anywhere from five to 200 miles (depending the user’s membership level) to “any point of safety.” You can go home, to a parking lot, or even a bike shop for repairs. Since they don’t offer repairs, AAA complements rather than competes with bike retailers.

Bicycle tows are included automatically in AAA memberships but there are some limits. Extreme road conditions might delay service and riders can’t get a roadside tow if they breakdown in remote or off-road locations. Bikes must be two-wheeled, standard bikes, and e-bikes are not yet covered. Parents can rejoice because the service includes transporting the broken bike, a trailer, and accompanying minors.

(Image: Hudson Valley AAA)

“Providing this service continues to demonstrate our commitment to meet the needs of our members,” says Montrae Waiters of Auto Club Group (ACG), an AAA group that serves a swath of states and territories, from Puerto Rico to Florida to Michigan and some of the midwest. Waiters’ group began offering the service last spring, in response to increased inquiries from members. Waiters says that her AAA group is looking into adding other classes of bikes, including e-bikes. Other AAA groups started offering roadside bike assistance beginning in 2015. Hudson Valley AAA, in New York state, is the most recent addition.

Enhancements could be on the way. In October, AAA Kansas and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism announced the creation of Bike Service Point stations across the state. The initial roll-out includes designated call stations along the 51-mile Prairie Spirit Trail and at some state parks, with plans for additional stations near trails and along high-use cycling routes. Riders can activate the tow service by calling a toll-free number posted at the station and relaying a location identifier, and AAA dispatches a roadside service technician. Bike Service Point assistance is free to AAA members, but non-members can use the service for a fee.

So, anyone who’s ever hesitated to take a ride for fear of a serious breakdown beyond the scope of their repair skills can take heart. AAA bicycle assistance is one way to give riders peace of mind to take longer rides and explore new roads.

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